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HOW TO VOTE

Mark 12:28-34

1        A COMMITTED VOTE

In response to a question about the most important commandment, Jesus said, “The Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with your whole being… and love your neighbour as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”

A preface to this commandment says God is one. He is not just the God of the British or the Europeans or the Americans. He is not just the God of white people or black people, or brown people. He is not just the God of Christians. God has made everyone, and calls everyone to love him and to love each other. This should prevent us from voting in a self-centred way. Philippians 2:3-5 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition… Don’t just look to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” This is how we should vote.

When we vote, we should think beyond our own agenda. Our concern ought to be more global. Our concern should be to make the world a better place. To this end, we should be concerned about the environment. We should be concerned about fair trade and healthcare. We should be concerned about sharing the world’s resources. This should then lead from a committed vote to…

2        A COMMUNAL VOTE

A communal vote develops from our commitment to loving God and our neighbour. To apply this, we need to ask who is my neighbour…

A neighbour is someone nearby. For us it could be the person next door. It could be those we meet on the road, at work, or at the school gate. It could be a minority group, the oppressed, the immigrant, or the asylum seeker. A Christian vote is not just about our own needs, and what’s in it for me. A Christian vote is concerned for the whole community. This comes out in Galatians 5:13 when it says, “Do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another in love. Think about the time and money we spend on ourselves. Think about the attention we give ourselves when in pain. Think about this, and then love your neighbour as yourself.

Instead of voting to protect our investments, we should vote to invest in others. 1 Corinthians 10:24 says, “We should be concerned about others and not just about ourselves.” This is a committed vote, it is a communal vote, and it is…

3        A COMPASSIONATE VOTE

In response to a question about who is my neighbour, Jesus gave the story of the Good Samaritan. In this story, a man is robbed and left for dead. A religious leader passes by without stopping because he’s late for a prayer meeting. A member of a political party looks, but is frightened to get involved in case he is implicated in any way. Then a foreigner comes by, and he stops. He stops to help. He takes the injured man to hospital and visits him the next day. We have called this man the Good Samaritan, but the word ‘good’ is not in the text. The Samaritan was just an ordinary person showing compassion to someone in need. He loved his neighbour as himself.

Jesus then asked, “Which of the three was a neighbour to the man who was robbed?” The expert in the law could not bring himself round to saying the word Samaritan. He said, “The one who showed mercy.” Jesus then said, “Go and do likewise.” In other words, we are not to ask who is my neighbour; we are to be a neighbour.

In Mark 12:33, Jesus draws on the Old Testament when he says, to love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves is more important than burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Micah 6:8 says, “God has shown us what is good, and what he requires of us… To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.”

We expect our political leaders to be committed to the common good, but what about us. As followers of Christ, we too should be committed to the common good. We should support policies that protect the dignity of all people made in the image of God. James 2:14-17 says, “What is the use of saying we have faith if we do not prove it by our actions? That kind of faith cannot help anyone. Suppose we see a person needing food or clothing, and we say, “God bless you, but don’t give them any food or clothing. What good is that? In this case, faith without works is dead!